The next big thing? Cows

South Dakota State Roundup

Published January 1, 2002  | January 2002 issue

The black-and-white cowhide boxes that hold Gateway computers may no longer be flying off shelves, but the genuine package is becoming South Dakota's hottest commodity. Three major business ventures are bringing cows into the economic limelight and generating predictions that South Dakota's rural future will rise on the back of the humble bovine.

In what is touted as the state's largest single private investment, a $50 million mozzarella cheese project is being developed in Lake Norden. The plant will eventually call for the milk of 65,000 dairy cows. In addition, a biomedical firm is hoping to build a research lab near Sioux Falls that would produce vaccines by splicing human and bovine genes, using as many as 15,000 cows. Finally, a proposed $62 million public-private venture would concentrate up to 65,000 head of cattle in a dual feedlot and ethanol operation north of Pierre.

Douglas Clement